Real Estate in Boise, Meridian, Nampa
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Jennifer Louis
Residential Real Estate Expert
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What the NAR Settlement Means For Idaho

What the NAR Settlement Means For Idaho

The National Association of Realtors, NAR is making headlines with their unprecedented settlement that if approved by the courts could transform how broker commissions are managed. This move directly impacts over a million NAR members, including agents, brokerages, and MLS services, setting a new precedent for transparency and negotiation in commission structures.  This article will detail what the NAR Settlement means for Idaho and those buying and selling homes in the state.

Key Changes and Their Impact

Transparency in Commissions

The settlement mandates a shift in how broker commissions are disclosed. Specifically, the practice of advertising cooperative compensation on MLS is changing. Sellers traditionally agreed to a broker fee, shared with the buyer’s agent through MLS listings. Now, such compensation must be negotiated outside of MLS, requiring buyers to understand their agent’s fees upfront through a Buyer Representation Agreement.

Negotiation of Fees:

Sellers retain the flexibility to negotiate commission fees and may opt to offer a cooperative fee to the buyer’s agent. This isn’t a novel concept; however, clarity around fee negotiation has been lacking in certain states, leading to misconceptions about commission rates. The settlement aims to rectify this by ensuring all parties are informed and agreeable to the terms from the outset.  The NAR does not set commissions or require a set fee. Fees are negotiated via a seller representation agreement and buyer representation agreement before a transaction begins for the majority of real estate transactions in Idaho.

The Idaho Example

Idaho has been ahead of the curve, with clear stipulations regarding brokerage and cooperative fees. This practice ensures buyers and sellers are well-informed from the beginning, reducing surprises and fostering a fair, transparent real estate environment.

Market Misconceptions

Despite rumors that the settlement could lower home prices or eliminate buyer agent fees, it’s essential to understand that the value provided by real estate professionals remains unchanged. Agents play a crucial role in guiding clients through the complexities of buying or selling a home, and their services come at a cost. This settlement doesn’t abolish fees but emphasizes transparency and choice, ensuring clients know what they’re paying for and why.

Real Estate Professionals as Small Businesses

It’s vital to remember that agents, operating under brokerages, run their businesses. This means they have the autonomy to set their service fees, which are negotiable and subject to the client’s choice. This autonomy respects the professional judgment of real estate experts and the consumer’s right to choose.

In Conclusion and My Personal Opinion

In writing this article, I’ve delved into the legal documents and discussions with my team at Silvercreek Realty Group to clarify misunderstandings and share insights. The real estate sector is undoubtedly at a crossroads, needing evolution. While I have reservations about removing cooperative fee advertisements from MLS, my commitment to transparency has never wavered. That’s precisely why I chose to work with Silvercreek Realty Group and take pride in operating openly in Idaho’s real estate scene.

The structure of real estate organizations like NAR, local associations, and MLS does seem a bit dated. Their focus on increasing membership for revenue, making entry into the profession too easy, raises questions about maintaining high standards. With over 8,000 agents in the Treasure Valley alone as of 2023, the bar for entry is low, involving just a course, exams, and a background check, with no rigorous vetting process. This ease of entry might contribute to the lack of transparency that led to legal challenges against NAR.

Despite intense competition, which theoretically should lower fees, many agents are selected by sellers or buyers based on personal connections rather than expertise, creating disparities. Given that the average real estate agent in Idaho makes around $40,000 a year, not accounting for expenses, the competition paradoxically keeps fees high for agents to remain viable. Elevating the requirements to become a real estate agent, such as implementing a college degree prerequisite or mandating years of experience in relevant fields, could enhance professionalism and ensure that those entering the industry are truly qualified.

With an industry filled with qualified professionals, we would see a more positive light shining on real estate agents and what they do in a real estate transaction.  In the meantime, I encourage those looking to buy or sell a house in Idaho to take your time when choosing your real estate professional.  I wrote an article to help guide buyers and sellers in making this decision because it is important.  A good agent should have experience, qualifications, and a proven track record with real client reviews and sales,  not just be someone you know or are related to.

If you have more questions about what the NAR Settlement means for Idaho or how it could affect you if you are considering selling or buying a home please reach out.  I am passionate about this field and would love to chat.


Boise Real Estate ProfessionalFor expert guidance on moving to Boise, or selling a home in the area contact Jennifer Louis, a Boise real estate and relocation expert. Set up a time for a consultation here.  In the meantime, make sure to follow me,  Jennifer Louis, Boise Metro Real Estate Expert, and local relocation guide on Instagram, Facebook, or my blog for fun facts about Boise and of course a few things real estate.  (208) 509-9122 or jennlouis@welcometoboiseandbeyond.com.

Boise Real Estate Market Facts and Trends – March 2024

Boise Real Estate Market Facts and Trends – March 2024

The median price for Ada County in February was hovering just over $520,000 an increase from last year In Canyon County, the median price increased by nearly 5% with a median price of $410K. Why the sudden increase this early in the season?  Let’s dive into the trends driving the Boise Real Estate Market Facts and Trends – March 2023

Take a Look at the Boise Area Real Estate Market Facts and Trends for March 2024

 

Ada & Canyon Counties Home Prices Trend Upwards

Ada and Canyon counties, two pivotal areas in Southern Idaho, have experienced a notable uptick in home values from January to February 2024, primarily due to a scarce housing inventory. As of March 1st, Ada County reported 512 single-family homes on the market, marking a decrease of 95 homes compared to the previous year. This scarcity, coupled with a dip in mortgage interest rates at the year’s start, has intensified buyer competition, following the classic supply and demand principle.

Shifting Inventory Dynamics

The interest rates are playing a role in the inventory we are seeing entering the market and will have an effect on overall home prices, but there have been so many buyers on the sidelines in anticipation of lower rates and are now starting to emerge back into the market.  Other states that typically provide buyers to the Treasure Valley market are starting to soften and once these buyers can sell their homes in their current place of residence we can expect the buyer pool to surge again in the Boise area.  More buyers on the market, even with an uptick of homes coming for sale will most likely tip the market back into a seller’s market as demand surpasses supply.  We can expect it will be less dramatic than in the pre-COVID and COVID years, but buyers should prepare to start seeing homes go pending much sooner and multiple offers may become the norm again.

A Few Key Facts

The beginning of the year traditionally sees a slowdown in home sales, attributed to post-holiday work resumption and inclement weather, affecting buyer mobility. Despite this seasonal trend, home prices have risen. However, sales volume has dipped. The average days on market for homes in Ada and Canyon counties were 27 and 30 days, respectively, in early 2024. Notably, homes under $500,000 in Ada County are selling swiftly, often at full asking price, with bidding wars in some cases. Conversely, homes priced over $600K are taking longer to sell, with those at the $1M mark requiring 3-6 months to find buyers.

Mortgage interest rates continue to significantly influence the housing market, making homes more accessible and thereby increasing buyer activity. A softening market in other states is anticipated to further boost the buyer pool in Boise as sellers elsewhere can move more freely.

Current buyer trends highlight a demand for homes conducive to remote work, sustainability, smart technology, wellness amenities, and co-living spaces. These preferences are important for sellers to consider when updating or staging their homes.

2024 is gearing up to be another year of a shifting market.  Rates have come down from last year, bringing more buyers and are expected to continue decline, but not to the low rates we saw a few years ago. They will slowly trickle down, and this will bring on more and more buyers as homes come within their affordability range.  With more buyers we can expect home prices to go up in both Ada and Canyon County, not dramatically, but a steady incline.  The fact is, Idaho still remains a very desirable place to live for many relocating from other states.

Buyer Opportunities

I feel like a broken record, but there are still great opportunities for buyers out there right now.  Homes that have lingered on the market for over 21 days and remain vacant may be more inclined to negotiate on price. Having a seasoned agent like Jennifer Louis, a real estate and relocation expert specializing in Boise and the Treasure Valley, is invaluable for understanding when and how to negotiate effectively in the current market.

Despite the competitive market, there are still advantageous opportunities for buyers, particularly in securing deals on homes that can potentially lower their monthly expenses compared to renting. Idaho offers various programs to assist first-time buyers with down payments and closing costs.

For personalized advice on navigating the Boise real estate market, reaching out to a seasoned agent like Jennifer Louis can provide invaluable insights and negotiation strategies.

Talk to an Expert

It’s imperative to talk to a real estate professional who understands the market you are buying and selling in to truly understand the best timing to sell and buy.  There are a lot of opinions out there on the Internet, or even trusted friends, colleagues, and family, but unless it’s coming from someone with the pulse on the market you are dealing in, you might be getting the wrong data and that could potentially cost you thousands.  Set an appointment today to understand the market trends in Boise and the surrounding Treasure Valley with Jennifer Louis, Boise Metro Area Real Estate Expert at (208) 509-9122 or jenn@boiseandbeyondrealty.com.

Top-Rated Public and Private Schools in Boise, Idaho

Top-Rated Public and Private Schools in Boise, Idaho

Whether you’re exploring public or private schooling options in Boise, Idaho, you’ll discover a supportive community and a dedication to academic excellence that fosters children’s growth and development. Among the top-rated public and private schools in Boise, Idaho, and the surrounding Treasure Valley, parents can find several outstanding options. Before relocating with school-aged children, scheduling a relocation consultation is essential for narrowing down school choices and gaining insight into what to expect in the area. This article will highlight some of these schools and offer resources to explore additional educational opportunities both within and outside of Boise.

Boise Public Schools

Boise’s public schools generally fare well compared to those in other major cities across the United States. While rankings can vary based on different criteria and methodologies used, Boise consistently ranks above average in terms of academic performance, teacher quality, and overall student satisfaction. One factor contributing to Boise’s strong public school system is its relatively low student-to-teacher ratios, which allow for more personalized attention and support for students. Additionally, the city’s commitment to education funding and resources helps ensure that schools have the tools and programs needed to succeed.

Overall, while Boise may not always top national rankings due to its smaller size compared to major metropolitan areas, its public schools consistently provide a high-quality education and supportive environment for students to thrive.  Boise’s public school system boasts a reputation for academic excellence and a commitment to student success. Here’s a breakdown of some of the top-rated public schools in the area:

Boise High School: Renowned for its rigorous academic programs and diverse extracurricular offerings, Boise High consistently ranks among the top public high schools in the state.

Timberline High School: With a focus on college preparedness and a supportive learning environment, Timberline High School earns high marks for its dedicated faculty and comprehensive curriculum.

North Junior High School: Recognized for its strong community involvement and commitment to student engagement, North Junior High provides a nurturing environment for middle school students to thrive.

Riverside Elementary School: Known for its innovative teaching methods and emphasis on individualized instruction, Riverside Elementary excels in fostering a love of learning among its students.

Owyhee Elementary School:  I bring up this school as my son attends and after a private pre-school, I was a bit apprehensive about putting him in public school.  However, I have found it to be a very pleasant experience.  There is a relatively low student-to-teacher ratio and the teachers, staff, and direction are very open to communicating with the parents.  They have various programs for children with special needs and go above and beyond to look after children in need of more support materially or emotionally.

There are over 30 school districts in Boise and the surrounding Treasure Valley and even a bit outside of that.  You can find which district belongs to each area by clicking on this link to the various districts.

Boise Private Schools:

In addition to its public school system, Boise offers a variety of private schools that provide unique educational experiences.If you are considering relocating to the Boise area I recommend contacting several schools in the private sector you are considering and setting up an in-person interview and tour.  This will allow you to look for housing closer to the school and also to get on an enrollment waiting list as soon as possible before moving to Boise.  Here are some of the top-rated private schools in the area:

Riverstone International School: As Idaho’s only International Baccalaureate World School, Riverstone International offers a globally focused education that emphasizes critical thinking, creativity, and cultural awareness.

The Ambrose School: Rooted in classical Christian education principles, The Ambrose School is renowned for its rigorous academic curriculum, character development initiatives, and strong sense of community.

Bishop Kelly High School: With a commitment to academic excellence, spiritual growth, and service to others, Bishop Kelly High School provides a holistic education that prepares students for success in college and beyond.

Sage International School: As a public charter school with a focus on international studies and language immersion, Sage International School offers a unique educational model that prepares students to become global citizens and future leaders.

Here are some resources to research schools by area:

GreatSchools.org. This website offers a comprehensive directory of schools, including both public and private institutions, along with detailed profiles, ratings, and reviews from parents and students.

Another useful resource is the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) School Locator tool, which allows you to search for schools by location and type. While NCES primarily focuses on public schools, it also provides information about private schools that participate in federal education programs.

Transportation to Schools in Boise

  1. School Buses: The Boise School District operates a comprehensive school bus transportation system, providing bus service to students across the district. School buses are available for eligible students who live a certain distance from their designated school or in areas with hazardous walking conditions.
  2. Walking and Biking: Due to the number of public schools and a low ratio of students to teachers, many students may live within walking or biking distance of their school choose & choose to walk or bike to school. The Boise area prioritizes pedestrian and bicycle safety, with designated bike lanes, crosswalks, and pedestrian-friendly infrastructure in many neighborhoods.
  3. Parent/Guardian Transportation: Some parents or guardians may choose to transport their children to and from school using their vehicles. This option provides flexibility and convenience for families, especially those who live close to their child’s school or have multiple children attending different schools.
  4. Public Transit: Public transit options, such as buses operated by Valley Regional Transit, are available for students who may need alternative transportation to and from school. Students can use public transit routes to access schools located along bus routes throughout the Boise area.

Overall, if you are considering a move to the Boise area and have school-aged children schools is an important part of the decision process.  If a specific school is important to you and your family it is key to research and set up appointments with these schools prior to relocating.  Often private schools here have waiting lists or specific criteria to enroll, as do some charter schools such as Sage International mentioned above.  Once a school has been chosen it will help to narrow down which part of Boise or the surrounding Treasure Valley you will want to make home.


Boise Real Estate ProfessionalFor expert guidance on moving to Boise, contact Jennifer Louis, a Boise real estate and relocation expert. Set up a time for a consultation here.  In the meantime, make sure to follow me,  Jennifer Louis, Boise Metro Real Estate Expert, and local relocation guide on Instagram, Facebook, or my blog for fun facts about Boise and of course a few things real estate.  (208) 509-9122 or jennlouis@welcometoboiseandbeyond.com.

The Costs of Living in Boise, Idaho

The Costs of Living in Boise, Idaho

Boise, a top relocation destination, attracting people with its outdoor living, relaxed lifestyle, and affordable cost of living compared to nearby states, Boise is a prime choice for relocating families and professionals. If you’re moving to Boise, understanding the city’s living expenses is essential. Here’s a breakdown of the main costs of living in Boise:

Housing in Boise

When considering relocation to Boise, housing is a top priority. The Boise real estate market offers diverse options, from downtown charm to suburban spaciousness. In Ada County, Ada County’s median home prices as of December were $518,000. In Canyon County, encompassing Nampa and Caldwell, prices were $394,000. Ada County homes range from $350,000 to over $2 million. The Boise housing market trends show days on the market for Ada County 40 days and Nampa 56. Boise’s growth makes homeownership a smart choice for those moving to Idaho, especially in areas like West Boise, Southeast Boise, and West Meridian where there is a lot of growth. Click here to look at active homes on the market in these areas.

Renting in Boise

Historically Boise and the surrounding area have a limited supply of rental housing due to high demand, particularly due to the influx of new residents relocating to the area.  There’s an increase in new residential developments, including apartment complexes, aiming to meet the rising demand for multifamily units, however rental rates will likely continue to increase due to supply and demand over the next several years.  As of January 2024, the average rent in Boise was $1,977/month, but here is a breakdown of other resources and rental costs for the Boise area.  Zillow reports a median rent of $1,750 for houses. Apartment List shows Boise’s median rent at $1,229, while Redfin lists the average rent at $1,582.

Utilities in Boise

Boise’s utility and grocery costs align with national averages, balancing the higher housing expenses. Recent averages (as of January 2024):

  • Electricity: 11.36 cents per kWh, average monthly bill $108.73.
  • Natural Gas: The average monthly bill is $53.
  • Water: The average monthly bill is $49. Veolia North America operates Boise’s water services. Southern Idaho’s irrigation districts provide water savings for landscape irrigation in certain neighborhoods.
  • Internet: The average monthly bill is $53 (8 Mbps). Providers include Century Link, Sparklight, Anthem Broadband, CTC Telecom, AT&T Wireless, and Ting, among others. T
  • Total average monthly utility costs are approximately $297, including electricity, gas, cable, internet, and water. In areas like Middleton, Caldwell, Star, private/community wells, septic systems, and irrigation canals are more common.

Depending on which area you make home in the Boise area you could expect the total Average Monthly Utility Costs to be about $297/month, including electricity, gas, cable & internet, and water.  The costs of living in Boise when it comes to utilities are on average lower than neighboring states.

Child Care in Boise

For those relocating to Boise with children, child care is a significant expense. Child care and private schooling costs in Boise vary by care type, child’s age, and institution. Average costs are:

  • Daycare: Approximately $6,905/year in centers, $6,284/year in family/in-home settings.
  • Pre-school: Around $6,429/year in centers, $5,834/year in family/in-home settings.
  • Private Schools: The average cost for high schools in Idaho is about $8,272. Specific fees for Boise schools may vary.

Boise Fuel Costs

For new Boise residents, understanding local fuel costs is vital. As of the beginning of 2024, Boise experienced a notable decrease in gas prices, with an average drop of about 7 cents per gallon. The cheapest gas in Boise was reported to be priced at $2.99 per gallon, while the most expensive was around $3.39 per gallon. This decline in prices represents a positive trend for residents, especially considering the escalating fuel costs over the past year

Lifestyle and Leisure in Boise

Boise’s lifestyle is a draw for those considering relocation to Idaho. Boise is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and culture lovers alike. From the stunning Boise River Greenbelt to the vibrant arts scene, there’s always something to do – without breaking the bank. Many activities, like hiking and visiting local parks, are free or low-cost, making it easy to enjoy the area.

Compared with other neighboring states a move to Boise may make more sense when it comes to costs of living. Home prices and utilities compared to Washington, California, Oregon, and Colorado are typically significantly less. Not to mention the amount of time and energy saved due to the shorter commute times and less congestion in traffic.


 

Boise Real Estate ProfessionalFor expert guidance on moving to Boise, contact Jennifer Louis, a Boise real estate and relocation expert. Set up a time for a consultation here.  In the meantime, make sure to follow me,  Jennifer Louis, Boise Metro Real Estate Expert, and local relocation guide on Instagram, Facebook, or my blog for fun facts about Boise and of course a few things real estate.  (208) 509-9122 or jennlouis@welcometoboiseandbeyond.com.

Boise Real Estate Market Facts and Trends – December 2023

Boise Real Estate Market Facts and Trends – December 2023

The median price for Ada County in November 2023 was $530,000, an increase from last year at this time.  In Canyon County the median price was just shy of $399,000 an almost 4% increase from 2022.  We can attribute these increases to the decrease in inventory and as always when supply is lower than demand prices tend to go up. But just how long will this trend continue?  Here are the Boise area real estate market facts and trends for December 2023.

Take a Look at the Boise Area Real Estate Market Facts and Trends for December 2023

 

Ada County Market Stats
Canyon County Market STats

Ada & Canyon Counties Home Prices Trend Upwards

Within Ada County, encompassing cities like Boise, Meridian, Eagle, Star, and Kuna, the real estate landscape has witnessed an unexpected resurgence. Home prices have rebounded, even increasing from a year ago.  This is mostly seen in existing home sales, new construction has still struggled since the market shifted in early 2022. As in the past few weeks, we’ve seen glimmers of interest rates dropping and with the knowledge that they will continue to drop more sellers are entering the market, despite the season.  Buyers are back out shopping including those that have been waiting on the sidelines for the past several months until rates dropped.

Shifting Inventory Dynamics

The interest rates are playing a role in the inventory we are seeing entering the market and will have an effect on overall home prices, but there have been so many buyers on the sidelines in anticipation of lower rates and are now starting to emerge back into the market.  Other states that typically provide buyers to the Treasure Valley market are starting to soften and once these buyers can sell their homes in their current place of residence we can expect the buyer pool to surge again in the Boise area.  More buyers on the market, even with an uptick of homes coming for sale will most likely tiip the market back into a seller’s market as demand surpasses supply.  We can expect it will be less dramatic than in the pre-COVID and COVID years, but buyers should prepare to start seeing homes go pending much sooner and multiple offers may become the norm again.

Here  are two interesting market stat sheets created by the Boise Regional Realtors for November 2023.

A Few Key Facts

The 2023 seasonal slow-down that typically starts in early Fall was less noticeable than in 2022 when market movement slowed.  The Boise Regional Realtors report that as of November 2023, there were 11 fewer sales than the previous month, but if you compare this to the same time in 2022 there were 45 fewer closings.

We’ve also seen days on the market decrease for homes priced beneath the median price of $530K in Ada County.  Canyon County also saw a dramatic decline when it came to days on the market in November.  The average days on the market was 42, down 29% from 2022.

2024 Market Projections

2024 is gearing up to be another year of a shifting market.  With so many sellers and buyers on standby in 2023 it is safe to assume as they enter the market and interest rates go down, brining in more buyers we can expect home prices to go up in both Ada and Canyon County.  The fact is, Idaho still remains a very desirable place to live for many relocating from other states.

It’s imperative to talk to a real estate professional who understands the market you are buying and selling in to truly understand the best timing to sell and buy.  There are a lot of opinions out there on the Internet, or even trusted friends, colleagues, and family, but unless it’s coming from someone with the pulse on the market you are dealing in, you might be getting the wrong data and that could potentially cost you thousands.  Set an appointment today to understand the market trends in Boise and the surrounding Treasure Valley.

Buyer Opportunities

That said, opportunities do still exist for buyers. Homes that have lingered on the market for over 21 days and remain vacant may be more inclined to negotiate on price. Having a seasoned agent like Jennifer Louis, a real estate and relocation expert specializing in Boise and the Treasure Valley, is invaluable for understanding when and how to negotiate effectively in the current market.

With rent prices going up local buyers should seriously consider buying a home versus renting.  There are places in the US where it makes more sense to rent than to buy, but the Treasure Valley, unfortunately, has limited housing and has forced rent prices up.  For first-time home buyers Idaho has some great options to assist with down payment and closing costs don’t forget, even though the market is picking up, you can still negotiate with the seller to have them help with closing costs or even buying down the interest rate to get you a lower monthly payment. Also, it was just recently announced that those who qualify for FHA loans can save thousands over the course of their loan.  I’ve just helped several first-time home buyers get fantastic deals on their homes in the Valley and are paying close to if not less than what they were renting for.

Talk to an Expert

Whether you are buying or selling consult first with a professional that understands Boise real estate market trends and the best way to succeed.  Schedule a 30-minute no-obligation consultation with Jennifer Louis, Boise Metro Area Real Estate Expert at (208) 509-9122 or jenn@boiseandbeyondrealty.com.